The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Miami Dolphins Sunday on the road and the game might include some rain and wind. As usual, I will attempt to project the Steelers seven inactives for Sunday’s contest and with so many players ruled out on the Friday injury report, only one remaining spot really needs to be figured out
Game inactives are officially announced 90 minutes before kickoff, so make sure you check back at that time to see the names of the players for both teams who will be sitting the game out.
Cameron Heyward – Heyward will sit out Sunday with a hamstring injury and it will officially be the first missed game of his NFL career. Heyward suffered his hamstring injury in the second quarter of last weekend’s game against the New York Jets and did not return. The latest reports indicate that Heyward will miss multiple games with his injury and that likely means his best shot at returning to action will come in Week 9. With Heyward out, rookie Javon Hargrave and veteran Ricardo Mathews will absorb his snaps on defense.
Marcus Gilbert – After failing to practice all week, Gilbert, who suffered an ankle injury in the first half of the Week 4 Sunday night win over the Kansas City Chiefs, will miss his second game of season. There is still no word as to when Gilbert will be able to return and with the team’s bye just a few weeks away, we might not see him back until Week 9. With Gilbert out again this week, Chris Hubbard will make his second career start at right tackle Sunday against the Dolphins and will once again be backup up by Matt Feiler, who was promoted from the practice squad a week ago.
Markus Wheaton – Wheaton showed up on the Steelers injury report with a shoulder issue and it prevented him from practicing all three days. He was ruled out for Sunday’s game on Friday and now you have to wonder if he’ll miss multiple games. Wheaton also missed the Steelers first two regular season games with a shoulder injury. On Saturday, the Steelers promoted wide receiver Cobi Hamilton from their practice squad and he’ll dress for the Dolphins game.
Ryan Shazier – While Shazier was able to practice on a limited basis on Thursday, he was ruled out for Sunday’s game on the Friday injury report. This will be the third consecutive game that Shazier has missed since he aggravated an MCL injury early in the Week 3 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Like Gilbert, Shazier might be held out of action until after the team’s bye week. With Shazier sidelined, Vince Williams will start again at inside linebacker. Williams has led the Steelers defense in tackles the last two weeks.
Shamarko Thomas – Thomas suffered a groin injury last week against the Jets and that will likely keep him sidelined through the bye week. This will mark the 9th game that Thomas has missed during his career due to an injury and he will be missed on special teams this week. The Steelers will have safety Robert Golden back on the field Sunday as he practiced fully all week. Also back this week is cornerback Justin Gilbert and fullback Roosevelt Nix both will likely asked to contribute Sunday on special teams against the Dolphins.
Cody Wallace – Wallace has yet to play so far this season after suffering a knee injury during the preseason and he won’t be playing Sunday in Miami as he was ruled out on the Friday injury report. While Wallace is expected to be healthy and ready to play soon, it might not be until after the bye week. In the meantime, B.J. Finney will continue to dress as the team’s backup swing interior lineman. At this point, Finney may have passed Wallace on the depth chart.
Sammie Coates – It’s really hard to know which way the Steelers are leaning with Coates, who ended the week listed as questionable on the team’s injury report with a finger injury. Being as Coates sat out Wednesday and Thursday and only practiced on a limited basis Friday, I’m going to guess that he’ll be inactive this week and that Hamilton will dress in his place. Coates reportedly fractured his left index finger last week in addition to lacerating it. There is, however, a chance that Coates dresses on Sunday and still doesn’t play. If that happens, quarterback Zach Mettenberger would likely be the seventh inactive player. We’ll know for sure 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Jeremy Fowler reports that Coates is expected to be active Sunday, but that his usage is unknown.